The main focus of the funding and investment strategy of Energie AG continues to be on comprehensively maintaining the solvency of the Group at all times and on maintaining the Group’s good credit rating. Financial stability is of essential importance, especially in a phase of the greatest uncertainty with regard to the economic environment – particularly accentuated by massive distortions on the energy trading markets.
The conservative orientation of the funding and investment strategy essentially rests on three pillars here:
Securing a sustainably strong credit rating
In February 2022, Energie AG again had its very good credit rating “A” confirmed by Standard and Poor’s. The “stable” rating outlook was also sustained. This strong credit rating enables the Group to obtain access to funding at optimal cost at any time, and to draw on a variety of different funding sources.
Stable and future-proof finances
Financial liabilities were reduced by EUR 9.6 million to EUR 660.5 million in the past fiscal year (previous year: 670.1 million). The Group’s repayment profile is characterised by bullet loans with residual terms of up to 28 years. A significant refunding requirement will not arise again until the 2024/2025 fiscal year due to the scheduled repayment of a EUR 300 million bond.
As of 30 September 2022, the Energie AG Group had EUR 929.4 million (previous year: 219.2 million) in cash and cash equivalents. Beyond this, as of the reporting date, the Group had EUR 273.5 million (previous year: EUR 105.8 million) in fixed-term deposits and short-term investments, which are held as a strategic liquidity reserve. The risk profile of the strategic liquidity reserve is extremely conservative – a large proportion is held in cash or cash-equivalent instruments.
In addition to these financial reserves from cash and cash equivalents as well as marketable securities, Energie AG had EUR 700.0 million (previous year: EUR 315.0 million) in partly committed credit lines with Austrian and international banks as of 30 September 2022, which had not been utilised as of the reporting date. The very high level of cash and cash equivalents compared with the previous years is mainly attributable to cash inflows from hedging transactions in electricity and gas trading. In the context of the sharp rise in energy prices and price volatility, the volumes of security deposits in energy trading have been significantly expanded. In view of the present turbulence on the markets, Energie AG regularly carries out stress tests in order to assess the impact of extreme market movements on the Group’s liquidity requirements and to be able to prepare for them.
Central Group funding
Group-internal funding management is handled centrally by Energie AG Group Treasury GmbH (Group Treasury GmbH). Financing within the Group is generally centralised, with the required funds being passed on to the Group companies at market conditions and in line with their requirements. In the short term, the liquidity of the Austrian Group companies is managed in the scope of a state-of-the-art cash pooling system. As of 30 September 2022, 27 Group companies are involved in Group cash pooling, with Group Treasury GmbH acting as the pooling centre.